Malawi Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022
Basic data
Capital Lilongwe
Population 20.20 million
Language official language English and Chewa, other indigenous languages
Religion Christianity (82%), Islam (13%), Other (5%)
State system presidential republic
Head of State Lazarus Chakwera
Head of government Lazarus Chakwera
Currency name Malawian Kwacha (MWK)

Malawi Basic Information

Time shift +1 hour (in summer +0 hour)
Economy 2021
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 22.4
Economic growth (%) 2.7
Inflation (%) 9
Unemployment (%) ON

Malawi is a landlocked country in the Southern African region. It is a presidential type of republic. Malawi is among the poorest countries in the world (GDP per capita in 2021 was only USD 566 according to IMF estimates). In the 2020 Human Development Index country rankings, Malawi ranked 174th out of 189. Population growth of 3.3% per year is one of the highest in the world. The country is practically dependent on foreign aid, which, however, was largely suspended in 2013-2016 after large-scale embezzlement of foreign donor funds was revealed. Since 2017, there has been some resumption of international funding. The new government emerged from the elections in June 2020 after the Constitutional Court (unprecedented in African conditions) annulled the re-election of the current president due to electoral irregularities,

Agriculture is the main sector of the economy, creating approximately 30% of GDP, employing 80% of the population and accounting for 90% of export earnings. The main cultivated crop is corn, tobacco, sugar cane, cotton, tea, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, legumes, peanuts, macadamia nuts are also cultivated. Livestock production is focused on breeding poultry, cattle and goats. The key export items are tobacco (approx. 70% of total exports, but global demand for it has been declining for a long time) and tea (approx. 10%). The industry contributes about 15% to the creation of GDP and is mainly oriented towards the processing of agricultural crops. Due to the existence of hitherto little-used reserves of some mineral resources (coal, uranium, bauxite, gold, platinum), the importance of the mining industry will probably increase in the future.

Exports from the Czech Republic to Malawi are insignificant, limited by the low purchasing power of the population and the slow development of industrial production in Malawi. Certain opportunities for applying Czech suppliers can be seen in the field of agricultural mechanization, renewable energy sources (including off-grid solutions), but also large energy units.

This summary territorial information is processed for the country that is so-called accredited. The information is provided in an abbreviated form.

Basic information about the territory


  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Official name of the country: Republic of Malawi (Republic of Malawi)

Malawi is a presidential republic with a pluralistic political party system. The president is directly elected and is the head of state and prime minister. He is elected for five years in the same way as members of the National Assembly, who are also elected in single-mandate constituencies. Malawi’s political system can be defined as partially free (according to the Freedom House Index). Check cancermatters to learn more about Malawi political system.

The current government has been in power since 2020, when the Constitutional Court (unprecedented by African standards) annulled the re-election of incumbent President Mutharika based on a lawsuit by the opposition for widespread electoral irregularities and ordered a repeat of the presidential race. It was won by the leader of the main opposition party, Lazarus Chakwera (the results of the parliamentary and local council elections remained unchanged). In the unicameral parliament, no political force has a clear majority, so the parliament remains fragmented, coalitions are formed ad-hoc according to the topic.

The ethos of change that carried Chakweru to victory in the election quickly suffered significant cracks – a fragmented parliament and an overly fragile coalition recycling many controversial policies are forcing the president to make concessions that are unacceptable to many of his constituents. President Chakwera asked citizens for patience and presented a rather ambitious plan of reforms that should revive the country’s economy. However, the implementation of the reforms has not yet progressed much. Investigations into many corruption cases from the past have also been launched in the country, but members of the new government have already found themselves on the dock.

Foreign policy of the country

In general, despite its poverty and small size, Malawi tries to be active in its foreign policy: the country is a member of the AU, SADC, COMESA and the Commonwealth. The country participates in UN peace-keeping missions in the DRC, South Sudan and Darfur, or the AMISOM mission in Somalia. Overall, the foreign orientation is rather pro-Western and pro-European, complicated negotiations with the World Bank, the IMF and the EU on additional loans and budget support, however, lead to the intensification of contacts with China and India, and recently also with Russia. South Africa remains the most important economic partner. Check prozipcodes for Malawi defense and foreign policy.

The EU is Malawi’s most important trading partner and largest donor. However, foreign aid was largely suspended between 2013 and 2016 after large-scale embezzlement of foreign donor funds was revealed. Since 2017, there has been some resumption of international funding. The priority areas of cooperation with the EU are “green” economic transformation, good governance and human development and social inclusion.

The government is continuing the process of ratifying the Tripartite Free Trade Area (COMESA, SADC and EAC joint zone). In 2021, Malawi ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Within the SADC free trade zone, Malawi has already removed all tariffs except for imports from South Africa, for which the agreement is blocked by the ongoing problem with the declaration of origin of goods (re-declaration of imported goods as South African goods).

Due to border disputes, relations with Tanzania remain cold, on the contrary, relations with Zimbabwe are relatively active. The government in Lilongwe perceives the ongoing radicalization of Islamic youth in northern Mozambique and the conflict with Islamist groups in the Mozambican region of Capo Delgado as a regional threat. From the point of view of migration, the country is mainly a transit point for migration flows from the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, approximately 100,000 Malawians live in South Africa as economic migrants.


Population (2022 estimate): 20.2 million

Population density: 169 inhabitants/km2

About 80% of the population lives in the countryside. The country is suffering from rapid population growth (3.3% per year, one of the highest values ​​in the world).

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 45.9%
  • 15-24 years: 20.5%
  • 25-54 years: 28.0%
  • 55-64 years: 3.0%
  • over 65: 2.7%

Malawi is a multi-ethnic state, the population is made up mostly of Bantu ethnic groups, dominated by Chewa (35.1%). The Lomwe (18.9%), Yao (13.1%, along the southeastern border with Mozambique), Tumbuka (9.4%, mainly in the north), Nyanja, Sena, Tonga, Ngonde and Ngoni groups are also represented. The population of European and Asian origin is less than 1%.

Religious composition: Christians (mostly Protestants, also Catholics and members of African Christian churches) 82%, Muslims 13%, others 3%, traditional religions 2%